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[jamsat-news:1210] * SpaceNews 24-Jan-00 *

* SpaceNews 24-Jan-00 *

BID: $SPC0124


		 	MONDAY JANUARY 24, 2000

It's been an interesting time for OSCAR-11.  The satellite survived
the Y2K change-over, and continues to work well.  During the period
14 December 1999 to 15 January 2000, good signals have been received
 from the 145.826 MHz FM beacon.  A revised bulletin No. 115 from
Richard G3RWL, has been uploaded to the satellite by ground control.
This bulletin contains a brief list of modes and frequencies of the
Amateur Radio satellites, and has been updated to include recent

Users of OSCAR-11 will know that the date in the ASCII telemetry
frames has been advanced by two days for a number of years now, and
that the displayed time has been slowly drifting over the years.
The first one day advance of the date occurred early in July 1992,
and the second at the start of March 1996.  The satellite makes
extensive use of two digits to designate the year in its status
display and data blocks.  On 30 December the date in the ASCII
TLM switched over to 00 correctly.  On January 01 the day and month
in the ASCII status block, binary SEU and ENG frames also changed
over correctly, but the year remained at 99.  The time in the ASCII
TLM frames was approximately 13.5 minutes ahead of UTC, and the time
in the ASCII status and binary SEU/ENG frames was approximately
three minutes ahead of UTC.

Ground control operations early in January corrected the year in the
ASCII status block, and in the binary data.  The time in these displays
was also set correctly.  Chris Jackson, the UoS ground controller,
reported that the time is derived from a hardware clock set up in the
early stages of the satellite's life, and cannot be adjusted.  This
time and date is displayed in the ASCII Telemetry, also a hardware
function.  However, the time in the status block and binary data frames
is processed by the Diary software, and therefore can be adjusted.
Time errors won't have any effect on the functioning of the satellite.

The battery voltage during daylight passes is unchanged.  The average
value observed was 13.9, with a range of 13.7 to 14.0 volts.  The
internal temperatures have been fairly constant during this period.
They are now 5.8C and 3.8C for battery and telemetry electronics

Temperatures observed on the satellite during 1999 showed a steady
fall during the first half of the year, followed by an increase
during the second half.  It seems likely that this pattern will be
repeated this year, but with less temperature variation.  At the
present time, there appears to be an annual trend towards slightly
longer eclipses, with less variation between maximum and minimum
amounts of sunlight.  This year's forecast was based on the 1999
day 363 Keplerian element set, and is only as good as that data.

The Z-axis magnetorquer counter is now incrementing normally, at
about 10 counts per day.  The spin period has slowly drifted from -295
seconds to -349 seconds at the start of the year, and has now drifted
back to -266.  However, very few spin correction counts have been
observed during this time.

The WOD survey of channels 1, 2, 3, 61 (magnetometers) dated 17
November 1999 has now been replaced by channels 10, 20, 30, 40 (+Y,
-X, +X solar array currents, array voltage), dated January 06.  Note
the year of this WOD survey is incorrectly displayed as 99.  This
survey clearly shows the solar eclipses, and a spin period of 340

A report of Mode-S beacon reception has been received from Jerry K5OE.
Jerry uses a Drake converter, a 10 turn helix with a ring reflector.
Signals were S3.  Further details of Jerry's experimental antennae
are available on his web site URL - http://members.aol.com/k5oe/

The operating schedule remains unchanged:

	ASCII status (210 seconds)
	ASCII bulletin (60 seconds)
	BINARY SEU (30 seconds)
	ASCII TLM (90 seconds)
	ASCII WOD (120 seconds)
	ASCII bulletin (60 seconds)
	BINARY ENG (30 seconds)

The ASCII bulletin is currently a static message, detailing modes and
frequencies of all the amateur radio satellites.  There are additional
status blocks transmitted after each bulletin, and between ASCII TLM
and WOD.

The Mode-S beacon is ON, transmitting an unmodulated carrier, but
telemetry indicates that it has partially failed, and delivering half
power.  This beacon is a useful test source for those testing Mode-S
converters, prior to the launch of P3-D.  However, the signals are very
weak, and there is a lot of Doppler shift.  Users should also note that
the polarization of OSCAR-11 is LHC.  Even if you can't hear OSCAR-11,
your equipment may still be OK for P3-D.  Any reports of reception on
2401 MHz would be most welcome, and should be directed to Clive Wallis,
G3CWV via e-mail at: g3cwv@amsat.org.

The 435.025 MHz beacon is normally OFF.  However, it can sometimes
be heard when the satellite is being commanded by ground control, ie.
within range of Guildford, UK.  When the 435 MHz beacon is transmitting,
the 145 MHz beacon is normally OFF.  The data transmitted is mainly

Listeners to OSCAR-11 may be interested in visiting an OSCAR-11 web
designed by Clive Wallis, G3CWV.  The web site contains details of
hardware required and some software for capturing data, and decoding
ASCII telemetry and WOD.  There is an archive of raw data (mainly WOD)
for analysis, which is continually being expanded as new data is captured.
Also included are some audio files containing examples of each type of
data transmitted by OSCAR-11.  Each one plays for about ten seconds.
There are also examples of Mode-S reception.  All the audio files are
zipped, so that they can be played off-line.  These should help listeners
identify the various types of data transmitted by OSCAR-11, and give
an indication of the signal quality required for successful decoding.

The URL is:


[info via Clive Wallis, G3CWV (g3cwv@amsat.org)]

Henry, ZS1AAZ, has provided the following update on SUNSAT operations.
SUNSAT (SO35) is still operating in Mode B, uplink on 436.291 MHz FM
and downlink on 145.825 MHz FM.  Please allow for Doppler shift.
Times listed are in UTC.

22 January 2000

Australia		00:42 to 00:56
RSA			07:22 to 07:36
Europe			07:46 to 08:00
USA			15:58 to 16:12

23 January 2000 

Japan			00:18 to 00:32
RSA			08:21 to 08:35
South America		13:23 to 13:37
USA			15:19 to 15:33

29 January 2000 

Australia		01:00 to 01:14
RSA			07:40 to 07:54
Europe			08:01 to 08:15
USA			16:18 to 16:32

30 January 2000

Japan			00:37 to 00:51
RSA			08:39 to 08:53
South America		13:41 to 13:55
USA			15:36 to 15:50

Comments and reports to saamsat@intekom.co.za

[Info via Hans, ZS5AKV]

At 16:30 UTC on Wednesday 19-Jan-2000, OSCAR-16's 437.025 MHz transmitter
was turned off and the 2401.143 MHz S-band transmitter was turned on.
During the last month, Russ Platt has completed a memory dump of PACSAT's
EDAC memory, and that file is now being analyzed by Harold Price.  During
this slack time before reloading, the Command team thought it would be a
good time to evaluate the battery use with only the S-band Tx on.  The
satellite is still in MBL (Microsat Boot Loader), and sends MBL frames
occassionally.  Russ requests that anyone who can receive the beacon to
please download the data in KISS format and forward the data to him at
wj9f@amsat.org.  Also please note the time and date if you hear the
beacon shut off.  The S-band transmitter does not have any power
management, so it is at full power all the time.

[Info via Russ Platt, WJ9F, AO-16 Command Team]

Chris Jackson, G7UPN, reports that UO-22 has now entered full sunlight
and the temperatures have increased considerably.  Chris has turned the
satellite upside down to point the critical systems to cold space - a
maneuver which takes a couple of days due to the gravity gradient boom.
This has reduced the temperature on various systems, such as the batteries,
by between 5 and 10 degrees (it's impossible to be precise without turning
it back up the other way).  An unfortunate by-product of this is that
the downlink is now quite weak.

Chris expects the satellite to remain in full sunlight until late March,
when he will probably turn it back over again.  Over the next couple of
years, this situation will become worse as the eclipse-free periods
become longer.

Only the 145.900 MHz receiver is usable for communications at the moment.
The other receiver has not been working properly for the past few weeks.

[Info via Chris G7UPN / ZL2TPO, UoSAT control station manager]

Roy Welck, W0SL reports that photos and text messages sent back from
Antarctica by Ron, KE6JAB are available via the World Wide Web at:
http://www.thistle.org, and http://www.thistle.org/dml/photos.  At
press time, Ron was awaiting for the Hercules to come to pick him
up and bring him back to Chile.

[Info via Roy Welch, W0SL]

Dan Schultz, N8FGV reports that there is an article titled "Why the Mars
Probe went off course" written by James Oberg in the December 1999 issue
of IEEE Spectrum.  This article may be read online at:


The first cluster of Amateur Radio Microsats successfully launched
into earth orbit recently celebrated their 10th birthday in space.
WEBERSAT-OSCAR-18, and LUSAT-OSCAR-19 were launched on 22-Jan-1990 at
01:35:31 UTC, and have spent a decade in space.

The following is an update on the Y2K status of various satellite
tracking programs.

1)  There seems to have been confusion regarding the status of the next
version of InstantTrack.  InstantTrack version 1.5 has NOT been released
as yet.  Check AMSAT-NA's web page (www.amsat.org) for more details.
Go to the following web site to get a conversion program that filters
the KEP data so that INSTANTTRACK will read it properly.  This is the
best work-around till the program is updated:


(John, G0AFC, reports that he has download the software and all worked

2) An updated Year 2000 version of WISP32 can be downloaded from the
www.amsat.org web page in the downloads section.

3) Carl, the author of WinOrbit reports that WinOrbit 3.6 with Y2K
patches is now available at:


4) Eric, WB4QOV, reports that PC TRACK 3.0 and PC TRACK 3.1 will not
recognize the keps from the year 2000.  They tend to put geosynchronus
satellites into different positions and others are way off track!  Eric
also noted this problem with FODTRACK.  STSPlus does recognize the keps
and has no problems except maybe in multi-satellite mode.  Eric is
running Dos/Win3.11 on older 486 based machines.  It is now known if
updates or fixes are available for PC TRACK 3.0 and PC TRACK 3.1.

5) Marco, IZ8AEB, reports problems with SatTrack-3.1.5 (the free
version of SatTrack for Linux and Unix in general).  Many sats appeared
as 'not yet lauched', and current date and time were printed as negative

6) Wayne Roth, the author of the SatSked satellite schedule prediction
program for DOS, has updated satsked.exe in his version 1970 to make it
Y2K compatible.

7) Many users have reported good success using PREDICT Version 2 for
DOS and Linux.  Several users of the DOS version have pointed out
that the DPMI protected mode driver included with the program are
not required for operation under Windows 9x.  Several also reported
that the environmental variable TZ set to reflect their timezone
offset for other satellite programs caused problems with PREDICT's
built-in timezone correction.  The solution is to set PREDICT's UTC
offset to zero to avoid conflicts between the two timezone
correction factors.

Work is currently underway on a new Linux release of PREDICT (Version
2.1.0).  The new version will permit the program to act as a socket-based
server using the UDP protocol, thereby allowing the program to provide
real-time tracking data for multiple satellites to external programs,
such as rotator control software or graphical map display programs.

Further information on PREDICT software is available at:


[Info via Ray Hoad, WA5QGD, and Ignacio Martinez, CE2MH]

Thanks to all who recently sent messages of appreciation for SpaceNews,

Comments and input for SpaceNews should be directed to the editor
(John, KD2BD) via any of the paths listed below:
WWW:        http://www.njin.net/~magliaco/
MAIL:       John A. Magliacane, KD2BD
            Department of Engineering and Technology
            Brookdale Community College
            765 Newman Springs Road
            Lincroft, New Jersey 07738
INTERNET:   kd2bd@amsat.org, magliaco@email.njin.net

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